women compared to merchant ships

In her post-colonialist reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Barbara Hendricks reads Titania's description of her daydreams with the Indian boy's mother as tied to the commodification of India in Shakespeare's time:

When we have laugh'd to see the sails conceive
And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind;
Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait
Following, — her womb then rich with my young squire, —
Would imitate, and sail upon the land,
To fetch me trifles, and return again,
As from a voyage, rich with merchandise. (II i 128-134)

This extended metaphor compares the male economy of merchant vessels with the riches created by womens' fertility. Although Titania and this woman laugh and gossip together, the woman is Titania's servant in that she fetches the fairy queen "trifles".

Hendricks outlines how India was a site of difference and excitement for Elizabethans. The Indian boy is little more than an exotic trifle for the fairy king and queen to quarrel over.